Why do some of us find it difficult to cry? Feeling that keeping it together and keeping a ‘stiff upper lip’ is somehow a better approach than letting it all out and having a good old sob?
I know when I’m really frustrated with my pain or any difficult situation for that matter, and it’s being going on and on, it’s only when I genuinely feel like I can’t take it any more that the tears start, maybe days/weeks during a difficult spell. And afterwards I always feel better for it, so why does it take so long to come?
Maybe that’s my ‘thran’ nature kicking in again, but I honestly believe if we were able to express our emotions more and not bottle them up as much, things may ease a little more naturally for us.
I see so many clients, who when going through their initial consultation, have had such a terribly tough time, and when I ask how they are dealing with things emotionally, they just straighten themselves up and point out that there’s no other option than to keep going.
I get this, I really do, and there’s a lot to be said for ‘soldiering on’, but from an outsiders point of view looking in at the situation, I can see the stress that is building up in the body. The tight shoulders and neck, headaches, raised blood pressure, sleep disturbances, weight gain/loss and heavy feeling in the whole body.
Quite often people will share that they had a wee cry during the ‘resting’ part of the treatment… the body knows what it needs and sometimes just taking a little time to reflect and a few well placed needles can help that release happen.
I had a look at some research and info on this very topic and was surprised to find so much evidence around the physically and emotional benefits of crying;
1. Releases Toxins and helps with pain
Crying does not only mentally cleanse us, it can cleanse our body too. Tears that are produced by stress help the body get rid of chemicals that raise cortisol, the stress hormone.
It was discovered that when a person cries, their body releases chemicals of the endorphin family, which block pain receptors, and produce a healing anaesthesia. The chemical is present even in our tears themselves. It’s closely related to, and as powerful as morphine.
2. Kills Bacteria
A good cry can also be a good way to kill bacteria. Tears contain the fluid lysozyme, also found in human milk, semen, mucus and saliva, that can kill 90 – 95 percent of all bacteria in just five to 10 minutes.
3. Improves Vision
Tears, made by the lacrimal gland, can actually clear up our vision by lubricating the eyeballs and eyelids. When the membranes of the eyes are dehydrated, our eyesight may become a little blurry. Tears bathe the surface of the eye, keeping it moist, and wash away dust and debris.
4. Improves Mood
Tears can elevate our mood better than any antidepressant available. A 2008 study from the University of South Florida found that crying can be self-soothing and elevate mood better than any antidepressant. The shedding of tears improved the mood of almost 90 percent of criers compared to the 8 percent who reported crying made them feel worse.
5. Relieves Stress
A good cry can provide a feeling of relief, even if our circumstances still remain the same. Crying is known to release stress hormones or toxins from the body, and as a result, reduces tension. Crying is a healthier alternative to punching the wall or pushing your feelings down, which can lead to physical health problems like headaches or high blood pressure. Crying is a safe and effective way to deal with stress, it provides an emotional release of pent up negative feelings, stresses, and frustrations.
6. Boosts Communication
Crying can show what words cannot express, especially in a relationship.
So next time you feel like pushing those tears back maybe let them come a bit easier and know that you’re taking a positive step in looking after yourself, I know it’ll definitely be something I’ll be trying out, in a safe space, with lots of tissues at the ready!